My Thursday sketching class ended last week with a sketch-out at Como Conservatory. I have sketched here several times, often in the Sunken Gardens, so wanted to try something different on this visit. I chose the Tropical Rainforest trail (indoors) and wandered around looking with my students for sketch subjects. I passed the fish, snakes, lizards, and other tropical animals. As I rounded the path, I saw this huge tree (I think it was real but I’m not entirely sure) with foliage growing off of it. I liked the stump at the end with the value changes and the greenery hanging off of it. Luckily a bench was nearby, so I sat down and got to work. Yellow birds flew over my head in the canopy, I hoped they wouldn’t poop on my head! A mouse ran across the path a few feet away and I noticed a mom and boys trying to find it in the bushes. As I checked in with a student who was sketching the “sloth tree” (minus a sloth), I was glad I took a slice of time to be in this warm humid place with lots of birds chirping.
My second sketch was outside in the Japanese Garden. As I stepped out into the chilly cloudy weather, I wondered what I would find. Someone inside had noticed fallen leaves on the pond, so I thought that might be a nice sketch subject. Having seen the garden in the summer with lush green foliage, I was not prepared for the exquisite beauty of the orange and yellow leaves, beautiful rocks, dark water in the pond, and greenish-gray pine needles of some of the trees. As I started down the trail, a garden volunteer with a nametag saw me and began telling me the story of the Japanese garden, the architect, and how it is a sister garden to one in Nagasaki Japan. She pointed out the four lanterns, the rocks with his face in it, and other delightful garden lore. It was fun, but left me with 15 minutes to complete my sketch. I worked quickly in pen and added watercolor after I came home. I love the quite beauty of this sketch… it has quickly become a favorite!